The Master

An emotionally complex and conflicting drama by Paul Thomas Anderson exploring the life of a damaged veteran and the charismatic cult leader that comes into his life. With masterful and arresting performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Phoenix is shaping up to be the next Daniel Day-Lewis and goes all Method here losing himself in this role that alternates dramatically between despicable scoundrel, desperate loser and desolate lover. He commands the screen and the eyeballs absolutely. Hoffman gets the showier role as the Scientology-like leader and he too is at the top of his game with a convincing portrayal of someone you want to trust but find it so hard to believe in. Amy Adams has a supporting role as Hoffman's strong willed wife who with minimal scenes established herself as one of the driving forces of the cult and The Woman behind The Master, and her contempt towards Phoenix's character is veiled behind Adams' silken subversive facade. Paul Thomas Anderson has written and directed a complex, and definitely polarising film, that many would immediately label as a study into cults (and a thinly disguised critique of Scientology), but that would be doing the film and Anderson a disservice. Instead this is a very challenging character study of an anti-hero and his attempted journey to self-discovery, destruction and redemption. A challenging, serious film that is deliberately paced with powerful acting and memorable scenes.

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